Using Technology to Engage Your Students
There was a time when the projector was cutting-edge technology, putting to shame chalkboards all over the country as chalk sticks turned to powder in the grooves of the wooden frames from disuse.
Now, new technology is coming at an ever-increasing rate, and it’s not just about exposing kids to new tools but using the best technology available to help them learn.
With the advancements made, educators can reach beyond their human limitations to provide their pupils with the tools that will broaden their understanding, connect them with their coursework, and create a more tech-savvy learning environment.
After-school enrichment can be a key aspect to helping kids learn and retain skills, and providing strong resources is the best way to make sure your students are working with the best tools available. The following programs are excellent ways to expand student resources both inside and outside the classroom.
- Knewton: Adaptive learning is one of the hottest teaching tools at the moment, and Knewton utilizes the style perfectly to help students in the areas they need most. With access for both teachers and students, courses and practice work is tailored to student specific needs and allows for learners to feel like they’re not wasting their time on work they already know.
- StudySync: StudySync is the perfect tool for writing enrichment inside the classroom, with weekly writing goals, online practice, peer review capabilities, a digital library and more. Including Common Core assessments and multimedia lessons, StudySync can be a big help in the classroom for increasing learning and available resources for kids to use throughout their regular curriculum.
- Socrative: Working with whatever is on hand—be it computers, mobile devices, or tablets—Socrative provides games and exercises that can be completed in the classroom or outside of it—anywhere there is a WiFi connection. With easy access for teachers to monitor progress and achievements, Socrative is a great supplementary program to encourage kids to learn on-screen as well as off.
Social learning is exactly what it sounds like: best-practice learning skills that exist in a social context. For the millennial and beyond generations, this type of learning helps invigorate them just like their favorite social networks, except it’s less about liking everyone’s selfie and more about hitting the books.
- Edmodo: The interface of Edmodo is very similar to Facebook, and it’s great for connecting students and teachers online. A bonus feature allows parents to chime in on the conversation as well, which means your kids and their families get a creative way to communicate outside the classroom.
- Grockit: Grockit is a perfect tool for high school and college students who are working on test prep, with everything from AP tests to the GRE. By connecting students with test questions, tutoring, study plans and more, you can provide them the background study sessions without having to devote classroom time.
- ePals: ePals is what your classroom pen pal was before the digital age struck, meaning it’s got all the perks, plus more, when it comes to engaging with different languages and cultures of students from around the world. By pairing teachers with their global counterparts based on class size, pupil age and more, ePals works to make international connections and helps your students understand different cultures better than ever before.
Useful Teacher Tools
It’s not just about what technology can do for kids but also about what technology can do for teachers and educators. From lesson planning to creating connected notes, try these multimedia platforms to help cut down on frenzy when it comes to organization.
- Popplet: Popplet is the perfect application for visual learners who like to mind map. Perfect for students as well as teachers, this tool allows for brainstorming, sharing and collaborating all from one great place.
- LiveBinders: As the name suggests, this program is a digital three-ring binder that allows users to collect and store resources in a safe and easy-to-find way. Added bonus features of LiveBinders include collaboration and a virtual whiteboard for visual learners.
- DonorsChoose: DonorsChoose is the ultimate tool for teachers looking to increase the technology budget, or any budget, in the classroom by pairing teachers and needs with donors who are ready to provide.
When it comes to incorporating technology with the modern learner in the classroom, it’s all about choosing quality programs that immediately provide the tools to engage. With these programs, educators and pupils can learn successful ways to use technology for the kind of good that keeps on giving.
Caroline Black is a former teacher, digital nomad and frequent contributor to Culture Coverage and Secure Thoughts who is out to make sure great tech tools get the recognition they deserve and people get the technology help they need. From learning tools to organizational apps that make every day easier, she’s on a mission to take her classroom experience and tech know-how on the road to make schools around America better places to learn and teach.